Today is Father’s Day.
Over twelve years ago, my husband Nick was afflicted with a strange condition that reshaped him and changed him into a new creature. The condition: fatherhood. His new identity: father.
At first the symptoms were subtle, as my abdomen grew, no significant physical changes took place in him. But after Meghan greeted us for the first time, the condition began to manifest itself in more pronounced ways. At any given time, Nick could be seen rocking her to sleep or changing a diaper. His speech patterns changed as he began making cutesy noises in the general direction of our infant. Strange for a man in his twenties, enjoying the prime of his life. But the condition had taken root and there was no known cure.
Over the years the condition has only worsened. Consider these manifestations: getting kicked and peed on when our daughters went through their “climbing into our bed at night” stage, sleeping in uncomfortable hospital chairs when both of our daughters were hospitalized (at different times), missing out on events he wanted to go to because we had family stuff planned (and it was more important to him), swimming with our daughters (he hates to swim), watching cartoons almost every single day, working hard to make sure our diabetic daughter has never had a lapse in insurance coverage, eating the food Sammee makes for him, wearing jewelry that Meghan made for him, quitting his recording studio to spend more time with his family, spending copious amounts of money on special curriculum for our dyslexic daughters, enduring the pain of stepping on beads time and again to support his daughters growing jewelry making enterprise, listening to Let It Go way too many times to count, dressing up in costume every single Halloween simply because his daughters asked him to, and the list goes on. Seriously, I could go on forever.
I’ve seen fatherhood change my husband in many ways. He is more gentle, more patient, full of humility and kindness. Being a father has left him more sensitive to the needs of others and made him a better listener. Fatherhood has caused him to be more self-less, investing time in others that he could be investing in himself. He is interested in learning and improving himself as well as teaching others and helping them to improve as well.
Though I doubt scientists will find a cure for this affliction any time soon, I sincerely hope they never do. Sure you can avoid the affects of this condition if you stay far away from your offspring or if you actively try to remain selfish and ridiculous. But really, why would you? As far as I can see, becoming a father is one of the best things that has ever happened to my husband in his entire life. I’m proud to call him the father of my children.